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  Film Reviews: A Wink, A Smile and Nice Suit: Confidence  

Thursday, May 29
A Wink, A Smile and Nice Suit: Confidence
There is no denying that the con is one of the best stories to be told on film. It’s the anti-hero that uses brains, cunning and charm to get to his mark. We watch the con wondering if we’d have the ability to pull that off – after all, it all looks so easy. In recent years, cons have run the gambit between been slick and sexy (see “Ocean’s 11”) and dark and grim (see “The Grifters”). Confidence seems to skim the middle line, going back and forth between the two spectrums of the con world.

While Ed Burns talent lies in writing and directing (“The Brothers McMullen” and “She’s the One”), he has also established himself as an actor able to hold a script he does not write. Ed Burns is that guy you knew in high school that was a little smart, a little cute and a whole lot of trouble. This is precisely what he brings to __, the anti-hero of our little story.

If there’s anything that the movie-going public loves more than a story about a con, it’s a story about the mob. So, why not combine the two? Well, when the mob comes in the form of an ADD-riddled Dennis Hoffman doing a pale imitation of his Rainman days, let’s just say that things get a little annoying. Hoffman’s character employs Burns to pull a con on an old adversary – one that was able to rise above low-level crime and into the lucrative world of money laundering. For whatever reason, we’re expected to belive that Hoffman was able to focus long enough on this single person to hold a life-long grudge. Seriously, can we get a puppy? No, I want to ride the go carts! (Well, you get the idea.)

Wilthout the likes of Burns, Hoffman and [chick from “the Mummy], this would have likely been another film relegated to the “straight to video category.” It’s not that the film is wholly bad, but that it simply tries to hard. It tries too hard to have strange characters with interesting quirks. It tries too hard to have slick characters that are cool all of the time. It tries too hard to make the con look too easy. What it fails to try at any point and time is to challenge the viewer.

Paying attention to the film early on will be your downfall. This is a con that tips its hand at the very beginning and makes it incredibly clear that the thing you are watching is, in fact, not the thing that is really going on. Now, having watched as many con movies as one can watch, I know that the first rule of the con is not to tip your hand too early. In fact, the object of the con is for the mark to never know that even the slightest hint that there might be something so devious as a con going on at any time. So, why then, is it so obvious that this is a con on many different levels from the word go?

The Usual:

What It’s Worth: You might want to see this one at the dollar-theater. Unless you’re really into Ed Burns (or any of the other actors), then go for the matinee.

Annoying Theater Goer: As I saw this with my family, I choose to plead the 5th.

Main Reason To See This Film: This is a film about style. If you want to see a lot of slick things and want to see how a wanna-be ADD-riddled mobster gives constructive criticism to an exotic sister-act, well it is interesting in that way.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: It’s a con that’s a little to easy which means that the payoff feels very short.

MPAA Rating: R

Nudity: Yes.

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